1. We use the present simple:

  • to talk about something happening regularly in the present:

The children come home from school at about four.
We often see your brother at work.

  •  to talk about something happening continually in the present:

They live next door to us.
He works for the Post Office.

  •  to talk about things which are generally or always true:

Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
The Nile is the longest river in Africa.

2. We use the present continuous:

  • to show that something in the present is temporary:

We are living in a rented flat at present.
My wife usually goes in to the office, but she is working at home today.

  • for something happening regularly in the present before and after a given time:

I’m usually getting ready for work at eight o’clock.
When I see George he’s always reading his newspaper.

  • for something happening before and after the moment of speaking:

I can’t hear you. I’m listening to my iPod.
Be quiet. The children are sleeping.

3. We use modal verbs

  • to talk about the present when we are not sure of something:

I don’t know where Henry is. He might be playing tennis.
Who’s knocking at the door? I don’t know. It could be the police.





What is the difference between the following two sentences-
I don't get your mail on my email.
I am not getting your mail on my email.

Hello neh7272,

The first sentence tells us about a permanent state; the second about a temporary state. You would use the second to talk about a problem which you hope will be solved, and the first if, for example, the mail is blocked and will remain so.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

1)when a child is marked absent, his parents would immediately be sent an SMS.(can 'will' be used instead of would, what would be difference in meaning?)
2)if your parents do not report to me by 11am you would be debarred from attending further classes.
3)the PM would visit this place tommorrow.
are these correct?

Hello innocentashish420,

Over time I have noticed that conditional forms seem to be used differently in India, so these might be acceptable there. In standard British English, on the other hand, none of these sentences would be correct, as they mix first and second conditional forms. For example, 1 and 2 should have 'will' instead of 'would'. 3 could be correct in some contexts, but as a simple statement of the PM's plans for tomorrow, 'would' is not correct – 'visits' or 'is to visit' would probably be best.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

'... would probably be best' : when can we use superlative (like best) without definite article ?

Hello dipakrgandhi,

It is possible to omit the definite article when the superlative is used after the verb 'be' and not immediately before a noun. These are called predicative adjectives:

This is the best house. [attributive adjective]

This house is (the) best. [predicative adjective]

I live in the biggest house. [attributive adjective]

I live in the house which is (the) biggest. [predicative adjectives]


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you sir; i have known this for the first time.

thanks a lot sir for this reply

I'm usually getting ready for work at eight o'clock - can we use this sentence in present simple? like ' I usually get ready for work at eight o'clock' ? thank you.

Hello eıtney,

Generally we would use 'I usually get ready' to talk about routines. We can use the present continuous when we want to emphasise that we are usually in the middle of doing something at the time given, however.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team